Welcome to Project Ultra – an imaginatively entitled expansion of Men’s Running’s most excellent Project Trail.
Mark Rochester and Tim Major are both relatively new to the world of competitive running. Having made great strides as part of Project Trail, they are determined to take their running to the next level. With the help of their coach, the ultra runner and Team GB athlete, Robbie Britton, as well as the support of Men’s Running, Salomon and Suunto, they are planning to put down some serious miles in 2016.
Mark, a former pie loving Yorkshireman, is now a vegan and is quite frankly only still standing thanks to a healthy supply of peanut butter and chia seeds (although he did once unsuccessfully try to fashion some cheese from a bag of cashews). His running homeland is the wild and wonderful Pennines, which means there’s plenty of undulation to get his legs going and plenty of precipitation to justify his newly acquired waterproof gear habit. Men’s Running recently described Mark as a “Plant-eating Yorkshireman who’s partial to the fells and the occasional ultramarathon”. He’s already proved that he can go the distance with a stunning display at Ennerdale but how much further can he go?
Tim lives in Kent with the North Downs on his doorstep. Having never raced before, the influence of Project Trail and Robbie Britton has unleashed a competitive monster that led to a 9th place finish in his first race and to him secretly awarding himself the prestigious title of ‘Champion of Project Trail 2015’. He is close to having to dedicate an entire room of his house to his collection of outdoor jackets (although he still doesn’t have the one that’s also a sleeping bag) and has convinced his 3 year old that he only goes running “because coach Robbie says”. Men’s Running recently said that Tim is “a trail-loving adventurer looking to get competitive” who is most likely to “run through the pain and trouble the top 10”. His passion for the outdoors has already seen him running in some amazing locations across the UK, including the Lake District, the Peak District and the jurassic coast. He’s planning to see if he’s capable of ‘going long’ by running his first ultra in March 2016. After that, who knows!
Watch this space to witness their successes and failures, hear about what’s good, what’s bad and what chafes, read gear reviews and race reports and ultimately see whether these two ordinary blokes can tackle some extraordinary distances.